Western Project

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DATES: June 4 - June 28, 2017

OPENING RECEPTION : Sunday June 4, 2:00PM - 6:00 PM

LOCATION:  WERKARTZ  (@werkartz) / 927 S. Santa Fe Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90021

REGULAR HOURS : Wednesday - Sunday 12:00pm - 6:00 pm

Dion Johnson, Dream Racer, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches

Western Project is proud to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Dion Johnson. This new body of work, Color Chords, will be shown at Werkartz in downtown Los Angeles. 

Influenced by his recent trekking through the Himalayas in Nepal, along with the natural and urban terrain of Southern California, Johnson has found new compositions and color relationships for his abstract language. Like his predecessor, John McLaughlin, Johnson has found a bridge between an Eastern sensibility and Western iconography. This appears primarily in his spatial relationships; dense color fields and gradient atmospheres suggest skies, water, or glowing city nights. While one could sense a familiarity with Turrell environments, Johnson's scale is far more intimate: a feeling of some internal vision, or steep vista, or perhaps as an abstract thangka. It is the play of solid color fields and ambient gradations, which make these works a melding of the natural, architectural and cinematic worlds. They convey a sense of not looking at nature, but being present in it; as in a grand city on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. 

Johnson has always had a keen interest in color, especially in Paul Klee's polyphonic approach; of simultaneous blocks of colors producing a kind of rhythm and harmony, a musicality of time, fluctuation, and sensation. It is Johnson's shapes and compositions, which set up rhythms and visual chords. His progressive forms have a kind of linear sense, but more importantly a wholeness, much like the beginning of a cool morning walk which ends in the mid day sun; the path and the perception are one. 

Dion Johnson, Disguise, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 48 inches

This is a marked departure for Johnson's work as it is more pointedly a subjective declaration of experience and less a formal construct. His luminous depictions do not divide the natural and the synthetic but celebrate their marriage as a contemporary value. Using a spray gun to produce layered horizons, and Photoshop to produce drawings, he fuses the tradition of historic abstract painting with the exactness of digital film production. Johnson's paintings are flawlessly made by hand; each inch is pristine. The 1960s expressionism of Jules Olitski and Sam Francis edge paintings echo in these works but are antecedents of a Western trajectory and time. Johnson's works synthesize a global techno world sensibility with a quiet personal communion. 

Johnson is represented by Western Project, Los Angles, California; Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas and Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona. He has shown at DeBuck Gallery and Bill Maynes Gallery, New York; Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, Ohio; Stephen Stux Gallery, NewYork;  CarlBergGalleryandRichardHellerGalleryinLosAngeles; James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe; Torrance Art Museum, and other galleries and museums across the US. He received his MFA from Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California and BFA from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

His work is in publiccollectionssuchasTheColumbusMuseumofArt, Columbus, Ohio; The Pizzuti Collection, Columbus,  Ohio; The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; Twitter, Santa Monica, California; The Capital Group Companies, Los Angeles, California; Creative Artists Agency, Century City, California; ProgressiveCorporation,  MayfieldVillage,  Ohio;  WellingtonManagement,  Boston,  Massachusetts; The Copelouzos Family Art Museum, Athens, Greece, and more.

Dion Johnson, Sunrise, 2017, acrylic on paper, 16.25 x 20.75 inches